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Creating Change Through Humanism Kindle Edition
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In the introduction to his new book "Creating Change Through Humanism" , Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, states "it's past due time to have a modern introduction to humanism." He then sets out to write just that - and he does a wonderful job of it. In eleven relatively short, straightforward chapters, Speckhardt covers the basic tenets of Humanism ,(knowledge informed by science and reason, ethics based on justice and compassion, fulfillment through relationships and community) why it makes sense to so many people who have opted out of god-based religion, it's philosophical history, and a more recent history of the American Humanist Association (which counts as past leaders Isaac Asimov and Kurt Vonnegut). His writing is clear and convincing, engaging the reader and explaining Humanism without becoming overbearing or bogged down in philosophical mazes.
In the second half of the book he explores the more practical effects of being a Humanist, and its political and civic implications. Part of this is a call to action to people who recognize their humanism, to be more open about their humanism, and more involved and engaged in both their local and worldwide communities.
This book is aimed at people who might be curious as to just what Humanism is, and to those just starting to question or explore the options of non-god based beliefs. It is meant as an introduction, and to long-time humanists much of it will be familiar ground. But for someone who is not immersed in humanism already, it is a welcome, straightforward introduction to humanism, one that does indeed fill the need for the plain spoken, modern introduction to Humanism.
Not only is there a detailed history of Humanism and the American Humanist Association (AHA) but the book also helps the reader determine if one might be a Humanist. There have been plenty of non-Humanists who have tried to define what Humanism is so it is refreshing to read the current consensus from an author who really knows what he is talking about. It helps that Roy Speckhardt has been deeply involved in the movement for years.
The second half of the book talks about Humanists affecting change in the world through political and/or charitable activism. I've believed for sometime that if the religious right can be political then Humanists must be. There will probably be complaints, as there is in the real world of Humanism, that some of the actions the author speaks about makes Humanism out to be too liberal as if that is a bad thing. As Speckhardt explains and demonstrates through examples, the conclusions of Humanism are liberal, in general, on the political scale.
I liked how Speckhardt talked about how Humanists don't always agree 100% on every issue or method to achieving a stated goal. I know I didn't agree with everything in this book. It is important for people coming to Humanism to know we aren't a monolith ruled by a holy book who march in lock step all of the time. Dissent isn't always a bad thing.
I also liked how the author acknowledged there are local Humanist communities readers could search out. Being part of the AHA he would know there are many chapters of the group around the country. Speckhardt also gave a tip of the hat to other like minded national groups. We need more of that family support.
"Creating Change Through Humanism" is an easy and informative read that should be on the bookshelf of every Humanist, Humanist group, and in all the public libraries in the country if possible.